My Secret Life

Some things you may not know about Olympic Rower Katherine Grainger…

My parents were … teachers, both very hard workers and always supportive of my more unconventional plans.

The household I grew up in … I grew up in Glasgow on this fantastic street – about eight of the houses had kids my age. My strongest memory is just all the kids playing out on long, late summer nights.

When I was a child I wanted to be … When I was very young I got a telescope – I wanted to go to the moon, which hasn’t happened yet. I wanted to be a vet and I wanted to join the circus at one point.

If I could change one thing about myself … I bought a saxophone when I won my first world championship – I’d love to have time to do it properly.

You wouldn’t know it but I am very good at …remembering people’s birthdays, building Lego, and juggling.

You may not know it but I’m no good at …cooking, 10-pin bowling and karaoke.

I wish I had never worn … I was young, and it was the Eighties, and I wore a powder-blue jumpsuit with a multicoloured paper bow tie.

What I see when I look in the mirror … Today, I see a tired athlete battered by the winter weather.

It’s not fashionable but I like … listening to The Archers.

My house is … very homely. And my garden is immaculate because I have the best neighbours in the world who mow it for me!

My favourite work of art … Rodin’s The Thinker.

My favourite building … In this country, probably Old College, part of Edinburgh University law school. I remember when I first walked in there before accepting to study law there – it’s beautiful, a bit daunting, and inspiring.

A book that changed me … Probably when I was young it was the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, which started my interest in crime and detective things.

Movie heaven … I love going to the cinema – I still get excited at that moment when you’re about to immerse yourself.

My greatest regret … Remember that powder blue jumpsuit?

My secret crush … I would say Zorro, especially if played by Antonio Banderas.

My real-life villain … On the world stage, Mugabe, and on a more personal level, the person who clamped my car when I went in to pick something up from the shops for one minute.

The person who really makes me laugh … [Fellow rower] Jess Eddie, who got me through the last training camp – she made me laugh every day.

My life in six words … If at first you don’t succeed…

Article: Holly Williams © The Independent